By Donna Bowes
During the weekend of March 4 – 6, 2016, South Florida was the scene of the 2nd Annual Lawrence Rowe Legendary Cricket Foundation’s West Indies Legends Cricket Weekend. It was the gathering place for some of the finest talent to have ever graced the cricket world, including Brian Lara, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Courtney Walsh, Rohan Kanhai, Lance Gibbs, Joel Garner, and several others.
Several inductees of Hartford, Connecticut’s Cricket Hall of Fame were also in attendance this year (Desmond Haynes, Courtney Walsh, Alvin Kallicharran, Lance Gibbs, Orville Hall and John Aaron), and of course, the gracious host Lawrence “Yagga” Rowe, who was joined by diligent members of the foundation aptly named after one of the most prolific batsmen the sport of cricket has ever known. Against England at Bridgetown in 1974 Lawrence Rowe scored 302 out of 596 for 8, in a little over 10 hours of unruffled technical excellence – a feat that still remains in the record books to-date.
The weekend spectacular was launched with a meet-and-greet at the Marriott North Hotel on Friday evening. Events continued on Saturday evening with a black-tie gala affair also held at the Marriott. The keynote speaker was none other than the exciting “Prince of Trinidad and Tobago” – Brian Charles Lara. He delivered a riveting presentation, complete with accurate depictions of a brighter future for West Indies cricket by completing one simple task – ESTABLISH OUR INDEPENDENCE in the form of creating and maintaining financial contributions throughout the Caribbean, thereby creating less reliance on “sponsors”.
Two exciting cricket matches, great food and beverages, especially El Dorado Rum – one of the event’s sponsors and magical music completed the schedule of events on Sunday at the Central Broward Regional Park. The first match featured 2015 ACF Newbury American Cricket Champions League winner Massachusetts Patriots vs. a South Florida Region XI. South Florida won handily as the Patriots group traveled ‘light’.
The second match featured Brian Lara, Dwayne Johnson and captain Courtney Walsh as part of the star-studded West Indies Legends vs. a U.S. Cavaliers XI and captain Mark ‘Soupbone’ Johnson, a former US national player. The Legends relied on their experience to outlast the Cavaliers and came away with the win. Cricket enthusiasts were the recipients of an amazing and successful event — coupled with fantastic weather!